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FAQs Index
The Weebler presents:

Animal rights Veg ism FAQ

If you frequently find yourself in conversations with people who are critical of the animal rights/veg(etari)an agenda, you will no doubt discover a certain repetition in the comments, questions and attacks used to disparage your philosophy.

The mandate of this website is to provide a one stop resource for those seeking information related to thescientific, historical, philosophical and spiritual arguments associated with the animal rights movement. Additions to the list are welcome. PLEASE SUBMIT to: askweebler@hotmail.com

THANKS to all who have submitted so far!

LEGEND:
Philosophical responses: general and specific (i.e. Utilitarian)
Religious responses: general and doctrine specific (i.e. Christian, Buddhist, etc.)
Scientific/Historical responses: general and specific with references
Humorous responses: cute and caustic

Helpful terms:

Anthropocentrism: This is routinely defined as:1.Regarding human beings as the central element of the universe. 2. Interpreting reality exclusively in terms of human values and experience.It is worthwhile to compare this definition with Ethnocentrism, which is usually defined as:1.Belief in the superiority of one's own ethnic group. 2.Overriding concern with race. Anthropocentrism can then also be redefined as: Belief in the superiority of one's own species. (sometimes referred to as Speciesism, Human Chauvinism, Spiritual humanism, Secular humanism)

Anthropocentric myopia: This may be defined as the condition when the ethical and practical arguments used in an attempt to ethically justify the harm caused to non humans, fail to address and counter the effects these very same arguments would have if applied fairly and equally to situations involving humans.

The Animal Rights Q and A List

This section sums up the most basic questions that animal activists are asked about the AR philosophy.

The Irrefutable Argument List. This section provides brief, "to the point" paragraph arguments covering basic concepts in animal rights philosophy.

Questions-attacks/Responses have been divided into these sub-categories for easier use. It is recommended, however, to check multiple sections to find a particular variety of argument. For example, many of the same arguments used for Hunting can also be used for Fishing or for the Wildlife Management sections after a little rewording. Most topical arguments rely on a variation of the "human supremacy myth" as a foundation to their beliefs. These arguments can be found under Human Supremacy, but various aspects of this approach can be found in other sections as well. Some of the more generic arguments can be located under Misc.

ANIMAL RIGHTSANIMAL RESEARCHBULLFIGHTSCOMPANION ANIMALSEQUALITYFISHINGHUMAN SUPREMACYHUNTINGMEAT EATINGMISCELLANEOUSPLANTS AND VEGETABLESRELIGIONSPECIES UNITYSURVIVAL OF THE FITTESTWILDLIFE MANAGEMENTZOOS

ANIMAL RIGHTS

Question: "If we give respect or rights to animals we will diminish our own rights and respect for humans."

a) Sumer, one of the earliest and most powerful of the ancient Mesopotamian city-states, managed its slaves the same way it managed its livestock. The Sumerians castrated the males and put them to work like domesticated animals, and they put the females in work and breeding camps. The Sumerian word for castrated slave boys--amar-kud--is the same word the Sumerians used for young castrated donkeys, horses, and oxen."
--from Chapter 1 Charles Patterson's Eternal Treblinka: Our Treatment of Animals and the Holocaust http://www.powerfulbook.com/excerpts.html

b) "Although the purpose of the German killing centers was the extermination of human beings, they operated in the larger context of society's exploitation and slaughter of animals, which to some extent they mirrored. The Germans did not stop slaughtering animals when they took up slaughtering people. Auschwitz, which its commandant Rudolf Hoss called "the largest human slaughterhouse that history had ever known," had its own slaughterhouse and butcher's shop. The other death camps likewise kept their personnel well supplied with animal flesh. Sobibor had a cow shed, pigpen, and henhouse, which were next to the entrance to the tube that took Jews to the gas chambers, while Treblinka had a stable, pigpen, and henhouse located near the camp barracks of the Ukrainian auxiliaries.-from Charles Patterson's Eternal Treblinka: Our Treatment of Animals and the Holocaust Chapter 5 http://www.powerfulbook.com/excerpts.html

Question: "You support animal rights, therefore you must support blowing up buildings."

a) it appears you are in need of taking a logic class.

b) you support human rights? therefore you must support the actions of John Brown, slavery abolitionist who killed pro-slavery people.

c) Last I checked, it is the people who support wars against unarmed civilians who support blowing up buildings.

Question: "If animals have rights, then they must be able to have the same rights as us, such as voting /If we give animals rights, we must give plants and all other organisms rights too"

a) Sure--and if we can do that then fine. But if we are unable to give rights to all life forms--it doesn't mean we should just give up and not give rights to any. If we say that--then one could decide they only care about people within their own race/religion/gender/age group/economic status. Some people already do it anyway....

Question: "Only humans can form moral contracts with other humans'since we cannot make social/moral contracts with other species, we should not care about how we treat them."

a)Why does a moral contract have to be reciprocal? We make special arrangements for infants, and humans that are mentally challenged'without requiring that they 'return the favor.' Why should other species be treated to a different standard?

b) We can and do have social and moral contracts with other species. We know that if an animal, its offspring, or its territory is threatened, or it is hungry, we can expect it to react accordingly. That is a social contract. By contrast, there are humans who make moral and social contracts with other humans'and then break them. And yet we do not turn them into laboratory fodder.

c) If this argument is applied fairly and equally to a human rights scenario, then it would have significant consequences for humans that are either children, or are stricken with brain damage, mental illness, or some disease which prevents them from making a social/moral contract with others. By the logic of this argument' these humans could be exploited for medical research.

Question: "What about grizzly bears?They eat other species, shouldn't we do something to stop that?"

a) that defies the whole meaning of animal rights. humans do not need to hold a paternalism over the actions of other animals.

b) if there were over 6 billion grizzly bears who didn't need the fish to survive, then maybe they would need to decide what to do about it, but that isn't any of our business as humans.

c) oh yeah--and while you' re at it--better stop spiders from eating flies and flies from eating smaller bugs and bacteria from eating otherbacteria ... get back to me when you figure out how to police them--untilthen we better stick to what we can do--policing ourselves.

d) other species do things to survive...they may do things we don't feel are consistent with our ethics--but we have ethics to control our behavior--other species are able to function without the types of ethical systems we propose. They don't have the option to not kill if they wish to survive. But they don't go around killing other species for oil, money, religion etc... when they do--they can deal with their ethical conduct--until then--humans are the species we have to worry about.

e) this argument tries to say that if some group is exempt from the same moral conduct that is expected of humans--then they should be excluded from any rights to protection or respect. By this logic children, the mentally retarded and comatose people do not deserve rights to protection since they cannot reason and formulate ethical positions like adult humans can.

Question: Animal activistsdrive on roads that caused animals to lose their lives and live in homes that have caused animals to lose their lives."

a) No one is perfect. A lot of humans were killed through wars to build one's country--whether you live in Europe or North America or Asia. No one tells a human rights activist he must rocket himself to a desert island in order to be against human exploitation -- therefore the same is true for animal activists.

b) Thousands of people are killed by automobiles each year. If you are in favor of human rights--do you refrain from driving?

Question: "You may think you avoid all unnecessary suffering, but how many animals died in the fields to grow your plants for food?"

a) Don't know--but it is a lot less than the number that were killed in the fields to grow the food used to feed the cattle you eat.

b) That's an ad homonym attack. Instead of addressing the issue you are attacking me for any faults I may have. It is a separate issue but you cite it to divert attention from your own wrongdoing.

c) There are ways to provide food without causing as much harm to other life --- eating meat is far more destructive.

d) So what are you saying? We should eat raw minerals? You start. Here's a rock--bite it.

e) Oh I see--so since we cannot avoid all suffering we should just let people eat meat, hunt, fish, use animals in rodeos, research etc. But why stop there? Why not let people kill each other, enslave other humans, abuse children. They are doing it anyway and since suffering cannot be avoided completely why bother to try at all? RIGHT?

Question: "What if you were attacked by a bear? Would you let the bear kill you? If you wouldn't-and you kill the bear--then you can't be for animal rights."

a) If i enter known bear territory than it is up to me to know better. But assuming it was unavoidable, defending yourself is a matter of self interest. If you commit an act in self interest it does not mean you are against the rights of others.

b) If a civil/human rights activist is attacked by a thief--and he defends himself, does that mean he is against civil/human rights?

Question: "Other species are not bound by the same rules as humans ("lions eat gazelles so why should we respect either the gazelles or the lions?") and are not capable of reciprocal morality ("we are supposed to respect them but they don't respect us")..

a) But some of the mentally retarded, mentally deranged, or children are not conscious of the meaning of rights and yet they are given them without conditions. We don't expect reciprocal morality from them, so why from non human animals? Lions and other predators need to eat meat to survive. Humans don't.Furthermore, lions and other large predators base their aggression on survival interests. If they don't feel threatened or aren't defending territory or aren't hungry--they don't attack.In that sense--there is an "ethical conduct" to how other species behave, and unlike some humans, they don't make promises they have no intention of keeping.

ANIMAL RESEARCH

Question: "If we stopped testing on animals the products would be unsafe for humans."

a) Even with animal testing the products are not always safe for humans. In fact, there are drugs and treatments tested on animals that have proven unsafe for humans (i.e. Thalidomide).

b) Human testing is essential for human drugs etc. You can take the animal out of medical research but not the human--if you doubt that, then lets see you volunteer to test a drug that had only been tested on non human animals?

c) Animals used in experiments become so stressed that their blood chemistry changes, invalidating the science.

Question: "If your child was ill, would you sacrifice the life of a rat, orcat, or dog, or chimp etc (in medical research) to save it?"

a) This hypothetical argument is intended as a catch 22. If the activist chooses the life of their child over that of a rat---then they are endorsing the principle behind vivisection whether they admit it or not. If it would be okay for an animal rights activist to use an animal to save their own child, then how could he or she object to the animal research industry? If they say no, then they are deemed as not loving their child and are a terrible parent. The first error with this is the unrealistic nature of the hypothetical situation. Can a cure for an illness be attained by killing one rat, without any human clinical trials? Of course not. Such a scenario is an oversimplification intended to force the validity of animal research and portray the vivisector as someone capable of making miraculous treatments if only he/she is allowed to exploit animals as they wish. It also perverts the nature of altruism and compassion by suggesting that one must prioritize the recipients of such altruism and compassion.

b) If your child was sick, would you sacrifice the life of your neighbor's child in medical research to save it?" If you say no, then you obviously don't love your child as much as you may claim to, especially since you know that the chances for a treatment are greatly increased by using humans--and wouldn't you want only the best for your child? If you say yes, then surely you are going to focus on getting humans used for research so you can offer your child the best possible treatment.

c) If it is wrong for me to exploit my neighbor's child in order to aid my own, then it would be wrong for me to do the same if my neighbor happened to have four legs instead of two. Exploiting others in violation of consistent ethical beliefs is wrong.

Question: "If we weren't using animals in research we wouldn't be able to find cures for diseases and cancers./Animal research is necessary if we hope to cure diseases and help sick children."

a) Saying animal research is necessary in order to cure human diseases makes as much sense as saying that one needs to conduct research on humans in order to cure rat diseases (there would almost seem to be a Neo-Darwinian myth at work, that by testing onso called "simpler" animals one can move up the "Evolutionary ladder" until you reach the complexity of human beings). You can remove the animal from medical research but you still need humans in research. If you wanted to cure leukemia in cats--working on dogs would not help much.

b) if that's the case why haven't we cured the common cold? Humans have been experimenting on animals non stop for at least 150 years and yet we are still plagued by diseases. new ones surface and old ones become drug resistant. So much for success through animal research.

c) Animals used in experiments become so stressed that their blood chemistry changes, invalidating the science.

Question: "Would you accept a medical treatment that had been tested on animals if you got sick?"

a)This attack is flawed because it implies that if an animal activist would use a medical treatment that had been tested on animals then the activist is guilty of hypocrisy: contradicting his/her argument, and must either refuse any future medical treatment, or abandon the animal rights cause. The activist is pressured to be a moral perfectionist before endorsing animal rights---and since perfection is not possible--then it alleged the animal rights agenda is a false one. This attack draws an unrealistic connection between the present act of vivisection, and the already existing products of that vivisection. In order for the animal activist to be guilty of hypocrisy, he or she would have to consciously participate in or endorse the present and future activities of vivisectors, not the medical treatments that resulted (in part) from policies that included animal experimentation (i.e. saying they are against vivisection, then paying a researcher to do it). The activist could counter-argue that since the research was already done, it might as well be utilized so the animals did not "die in vain." It also makes an unrealistic demand upon the activist--to remove him/herself from a world where all governments engage in some form of exploitation (or have connections to those that do) before beginning to make protests and arguments that seek change.

b) This argument reveals how vivisectors attempt to make the recipient of their works feel guilty because he/she benefited from their research. It perverts the altruism of the medical profession by tainting the recipient with the tag of a conspirator!

c) If this "moral perfection first" approach is applied fairly and equally to human-related issues-it has the following consequences for the animal research proponent: Any patient who benefits from a procedure that was based upon the human experiments of the Nazis, effectively endorses those atrocities committed, and cannot declare otherwise (In 1989 concentration camp survivors attempted to get Nazi research destroyed--but were rebuked by the medical establishment which argued the research could be employed for the greater good). An organ recipient, who receives a transplant from a victim of a car wreck, or shooting, cannot claim to be against such tragedies, since he/she benefited from such incidents. Furthermore, a Chinese student living in Beijing, could not protest for democratic reforms since he receives his food, shelter, and financial support through agencies of the government he is attacking. And someone in North America could not claim to be for Indian rights--unless they remove themselves from their present dwelling and let aboriginals move in. No one could protest, or seek to make reforms for any social cause unless they first removed themselves from all imperfections. Since it is impossible--all attempts to make the world a better place would have to be abandoned. In trying to portray the animal activist as a hypocrite, the animal research defender puts forth an ethical standard which they do not apply fairly and equally to themselves--thus revealing who the actual hypocrites are.

Question: "Animal research is justified because of the benefits (to human health, happiness, knowledge, progress, science, companion animals, wildlife, etc)."

a) Its basic problem is that it is stating the INTENT of the Animal research, not a moral /ethical DEFENSE of it. 'Why are you torturing animals to death?' Answer: 'Because we hope to benefit from it.' A casual observer would hope that they benefit from it, or why else would they be doing it? This argument is nothing more than an appeal to Selfishness.

b) A thief steals because of the benefits to him or others. A rapist rapes because of the benefits. If the rapist defended his act by pointing out that others could benefit by taking items from the unconscious victim's house, would that justify the rape? If one accepts "benefits" as a justification for animal research, and applies it fairly and equally to human relationships, then it allows anyone to commit an act on the basis of the perceived benefits to the perpetrator or others--whether the victim is human or not.

Question: "vivisection is justified because humans can subdue and control other creatures for whatever purpose we wish."

a) This approach would attempt to suggest that humans are following the "law of Nature." The act of vivisection is seen as being no different than a lion chasing down a gazelle. The proponent may even concede that if an alien race were to do the same thing to humans it would be justifiable. The first problem with this approach is that it suggests vivisection serves a natural purpose, similar to the act of killing for food. Yet the act of killing for food is a primordial instinctive need shared by all life, while only a small number of modern humans engage in the practice of vivisection. It also conveniently ignores the harsh reality of life and death. One could counter-argue that disease exists to control population'a thoroughly natural process--and that the vivisectionist is deliberately obstructing that process by attempting to prolong human life-spans. What about the impact on food and natural resources? A vivisector would probably answer that the solution lies in more research, colonizing space, etc. Nevertheless, the claim that vivisection is a natural process in harmony with the realities of life can be strongly protested.

b) Despite the concession made for extraterrestrial exploitation, one does not need to go so far out to discover the consequences of such a philosophical position. By "survival of the fittest," one could then justify killing or enslaving his/her next door neighbor. The philosophy ordains that if they can do it, then they are justified. A thief, murderer, rapist, --practitioners of any of these professions would find the vivisector's reasoning to be very useful.

Question: "If you could save countless human lives by xenotransplantation (genetically engineering non-human animals to harvest their
organs for humans), isn't that for the greater good? I mean, people eat those species every day anyway."

a) Since eating meat is unnecessary--exploiting them for animal research and genetic engineering is compounding one injustice with another. It is like saying "well, since we are planning to kill this guy--there is nothing wrong with us torturing and robbing him first.

BULLFIGHTS

Question: "Bullfights are good because they give the meat of the bull to the poor."

a) Then why were matadors protesting that they couldn't SELL the meat after the Mad Cow/foot and mouth disease crisis?

b) Citing a positive benefit of an act does not cancel out the negative. Bullfights are cruel. To say they are good because they give the meat to the poor would be like justifying a murder/robbery by saying the bandits gave some of the spoils to the needy. Al Capone opened the first soup kitchens in Chicago--using the proceeds of crime, does this mean that loan sharking and murder used to finance that charity were good?

c) if bullfighters do it for the charity, then they should be growing veggies to give to the poor.

COMPANION ANIMALS

EQUALITY

Question: "One cannot say that humans and non humans are equal and also say that humans and non humans are not bound by the same rules and code of moral conduct. If humans have to respect the rights of deer then so should lions."

a) This is assumed to be a fallacy in Definition: Conflicting Conditions--that they cannot be equal and unequal at the same time. This confuses two different definitions of "equality." The first definition is that non humans and humans are equal regardless of their differences (the "Martin Luther King jr." sense of the word: "All men are created equal." ). The second definition is not a value judgment, but an observation of the fact that everyone has different attributes. The animal rights proponent stresses equality in value while acknowledging inequality in attribute. There is no conflicting conditions.Other species are equal to humans in value, but they do not possess the attributes to think and behave the way humans do--just as the mentally retarded or children do not have the same attributes but are afforded equal moral protection and ethical regard.

b) We say a man with arms and a man without arms are equal in worth, but we don't say because they have different abilities that the one with arms deserves more "rights" than the other.By the logic of this attack, in order for all humans to be granted equal rights and respect, they would have to possess the same attributes (mentally, physically etc).

FISHING

Question: "Fish don't have nerves in their mouths or feelings in their lips."

a) The hook still causes damage to the fish's body. It can lead to infection (if the fish is being thrown back in the water).

b) Slave traders said the same thing aboutNegro slaves--they don't feel pain like we do. You can't prove it as a 100 percent certaintythat they don't feel discomfort/pain and science may not have figured out how to measure it. Better to be safe than sorry.

c) Yeah but they sure look uncomfortable when they are being dragged from the water. So are they trying to dance when they are flipping around on a hook?

d) So if someone doesn't feel pain we should do what they want to them? Good because there are some comatose people at the hospital that would look mighty good preserved over my fireplace mantle.

e) Fish have nerve endings near the skin which are very similar to those of humans and other mammals. We all have receptor cells (called nociceptors) near the skin, which are stimulated by events severe enough to cause damage to body tissues. The lips and mouth of fish are particularly well supplied with nerve endings.
--Fish produce the same pain-transmitting chemicals as humans. There are two main chemicals involved. When a nerve ending is damaged, a substance called bradykinin is released. This causes the nerve cell to fire, sending an electrical impulse along the nerve. When bradykinin is
released near the skin, a second chemical, called substance P, is released near the spinal cord.
--Both substances are known to be involved in transmitting pain. For example, if bradykinin is injected in humans, it causes intense pain, even if a local anesthetic is used. Both bradykinin and substance P are found in mammals, birds, frogs and fish.
--Fish produce the same pain-blocking substances as humans. When in severe pain, humans and other vertebrates (animals with backbones) produce pain-killing chemicals called endorphins. These endorphins block pain by stopping the release of substance P.(from an article titled "Fish Feel Pain" from the November to January issue of "Animals Today" magazine (Australia)). http://members.iinet.net.au/~rabbit/fish.htm

f) "Fish constitute the greatest source of confused thinking and inconsistency on earth at the moment with respect to pain. You will get people very excited about dolphins because they are mammals, and about horses and dogs, if they are not treated properly. At the same time you will have fishing competitions on the River Murray at which thousands of people snare fish with hooks and allow them to asphyxiate on the banks, which is a fairly uncomfortable and miserable death". (The Advertiser, Professor Bill Runciman, professor of anesthesia and intensive care at Adelaide University, Australia) http://members.iinet.net.au/~rabbit/fish.htm

g) "I undertook a ... search on pain felt by fish. I discovered that not only do fish feel the same pain as cats and dogs and humans but they are also highly intelligent. On the beach the other day I saw several fishermen with their dogs. I wanted to explain to them that the fish they were hooking felt the same anguish as would their dogs caught in the same way. Likewise when I went to New Foundland to talk to the fishermen who clubbed the baby Harp seals to death, I noticed that they too had companion dogs and cats and canaries. The most common form of cruelty in the world is fishing and why? Because most people have no idea how sensitive and intelligent fish are". (Richard Jones, Member of the New South Wales Legislative Council). http://members.iinet.net.au/~rabbit/fish.htm

Question: "But wasn't Christ a fisherman?"

a) he was a carpenter by trade. He referred to himself as a fisher of men.

b) Fish was a well known mythical symbol among early Christians. The Greek word for fish (Ichthys) was used as an acronym whose initials in Greek stood for "Jesus Christ, Son of God, Savior." Given how the early Christians employed the term, there is therefore good historical evidence for the argument that all of the "fish stories" that managed to get into gospels were intended to be taken symbolically rather than literally.

HUMAN SUPREMACY

Question: "But they are just animals."

a) So? And you are just a human.

b) At one time it was common to say: "just a woman," "just a child," "just a black," "just a pagan," "just a Christian," "just a slave," etc etc etc.

c) Um--we are animals too-although considering the dismal record of human behavior I am sure most species would rather be a remote relative.

Question: "Humans can exploit animals because we are superior to animals.The reason we are superior is because we possess the capacity to reason." (variations: "When bears and ants can compose symphonies and fly airplanes, then I'll believe they have rights.\Humans have brains that can make computers and do math and build tall skyscrapers, therefore we have evolved beyond other species and are superior to them.")

a) not all humans possess reason as defined here (children, mentally retarded etc). Furthermore--why would reason be an absolute criteria? It is transitory. Arbitrary. Using reason as a criteria would be like saying "an apple is superior to a banana because its red. Red makes it superior." WHY? What is so great about red?It is just as relative and as arbitrary as talking about skin color. If you say reason is great because it allows us to build tall buildings--why is that of absolute importance? Reason is only important as a human value, just as skin color is only important as a racial value, or a certain interpretation of the Judeo-Christian Bible is only important to particular adherents of that religious group.

b) Human rights, like animal rights, are arbitrary, subjective, and non-absolute. They are both based on value that we as humans assign and administer. There is no demonstrable natural law which we base our ethics upon. The universe does not say: "Humans have special rights because they possess faculty x, y, z." A human does not have a universal right to life. If that were the case, it should be demonstrable in nature.We could walk safely through the path of an erupting volcano without so much as a blister. We wouldn't need police or courts if our "rights" were some universal truth. When one looks at it reasonably, humans are just as mortal as other species. All the fruits of our labors and intellect are also mortal. How can one truly say we as a species are superior to other species as an absolute objective truth? We can't. Just like a racist can't say his race is superior to others as an objective absolute truth, or a sexist, or a religious extremist etc etc. Therefore, to be consistent and fair, If human rights are good, then so are animal rights and one should strive to be as compassionate as possible.

c) Not all humans--most in fact, do not compose symphonies or build skyscrapers. Does that mean those people are inferior to the humans that do? BTW--when was the last time you built a skyscraper?

d) Why would reason/building skyscrapers/airplanes/computers etc make humans superior in value as a species to other species that are incapable of doing such acts? What makes skyscrapers so great and important? Buildings fall down, planes crash, computers break. Since all are subjective andtransitory--where is the superiority? Humans only think they are superior to justify their exploitation.

Question: "Humans can exploit animals because we are superior to animals.The reason we are superior is because we have a soul."

a) how do you prove humans have a soul and others don't? And even if we did--why would that make us superior? Its arbitrary and subjective. And a human of one race could say the same thing about another human of a different race. "Members of my race have a soul but members of yours don't."

Question: "Humans can exploit animals because we are superior to animals.The reason we are superior is because God tells us we are superior."

a) How do you prove that? And even if some deity in the sky said we were superior--why would it matter? Why would that being's judgment be absolute? Someone else can say "My god says my group is superior to this other group." How do you refute that with this "God says so" defense? How do you prove that your god is making the "true" commandment? How do you demonstrate this to others? The very same approach could be used to justify discriminating against OTHER HUMANS. To say humans are superior as a species to other life forms without being able to justify it as an absolute certainty--anyone can discriminate according to whatever religious belief they hold.

b) The greatest problem with spiritual humanism is the lack of certainty inherent in the belief. One can doubt the existence and nature of the deity, doubt the uniqueness and importance of the qualities cited as making one worthy of special treatment, and doubt human possession of them (and doubt the claim that other life forms do not possess them).

c) claiming that humans are superior according to a spiritual form of humanism is neither concrete nor conclusive. One is free to believe anything--and by this ideology one could modify the human superiority argument to assert with equal weight that some humans are superior to other HUMANS according to the dictates of their particular deity. The dispute is endless.

Question: "Humans can exploit animals because we are superior to animals.The reason we are superior is because Nature tells us we are superior." (variations: "We are highest on the food chain and always have been.")

a) Secular humanism can also be challenged by doubt. One can question the importance of free will, reason, or the evolutionary law being cited as fact. Why are these qualities important? If one acknowledges that death is the ultimate end of all life, humans included, then why the emphasis on something so transitory? One can question the notion that humans are rational--simply by reading out loud the harrowing stories on war and crime from the front page of any daily newspaper. One can argue that humans enslave, torture, kill, while no other species on earth can not even come close to exhibiting such a level of barbarism. Every criterion that humans cite as evidence of their superiority can be examined to not only negate the claim--but demonstrate the OPPOSITE with greater success. Altruism, tool making, parental nurturing...these qualities once thought to be exclusively human have been observed in wildlife.

b) One can argue that humans enslave, torture, kill, while no other species on earth can not even come close to exhibiting such a level of barbarism. Every criterion that humans cite as evidence of their superiority can be examined to not only negate the claim--but demonstrate the OPPOSITE with greater success. Altruism, tool making, parental nurturing...these qualities once thought to be exclusively human have been observed in wildlife.

c) Then there is the issue that humans are worth more according to some natural law. The ludicrousness of this belief can be easily exposed by simple observation. If a volcano erupts--does the lava flow destroy all in its path--but conveniently spare human life since it is a universal fact that they are special and not to be harmed? If a human is adrift in the ocean, and approached by a shark--do the jaws of the predatory fish lock up in paralyses when it attempts to bite the man? If the claim that "human life is superior to other life forms" was an absolute, universal fact and truth in nature--then how does one explain that humans appear to be subject to the same violence and mortality that applies to other life? One can't, because humans are not superior according to any criteria that are cited to prove it--all examples are arbitrary, subjective and non-absolute.

d) Even the claim that humans should not enslave and kill other humans is easily challenged by observing the state of human relations over the last 10 000 years. Arguing that something is absolute and objective carries a very heavy burden of proof. Anthropocentrism is nothing more than human beings setting the standard and value system by which a life is to be viewed as special and worthy'a standard that conveniently places themselves at the top of the value system--all the while ignoring the fragile foundation that supports it. Racist and sexist doctrine does the same thing.

HUNTING

Question: "If we weren't hunting deer they would overpopulate and start dying horrible deaths because of the lack of food"

a) If there is lack of food the animal population will not grow as much. If there is less food there are going to be less animals.

b) humans have overpopulated many areas of the earth which has resulted in lack of food and poor living conditions, yet we do not hunt and execute them.

c) In recent years, deer populations have increased to numbers unsupportable by wildlife habitat alone. Many researchers believe that this increase results from continued human incursion into deer habitat, and the mismanagement of deer populations by forest and wildlife authorities who see hunting as the primary means of population control.Wildlife and land management agencies purport to effectively limit deer populations to numbers sustainable by their natural habitat. In reality, the policies of such agencies exacerbate deer overpopulation, serving only to provide a population large enough to suit sport hunters. The overpopulation of deer stems not only from the specific mismanagement of deer populations, but from the mismanagement of our forestlands and natural areas. Currently, there are approximately eight does for every buck in the wild. Laws restrict the number of does that hunters may kill. Deer do not have monogamous mating relationships, and bucks will often mate with more than one female. As a result, the ratio of does to bucks sets the stage for a population explosion. Allowing hunters to kill more does, however, does not resolve population problems. In the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the open hunting of does left fawns without mothers, and removed too many females from the breeding population. Sport hunting decimated deer populations in many states. As a result, states passed laws restricting the hunting of does. These policies have contributed to the overpopulation of deer.http://www.idausa.org/facts/deercontrol.html

d) Hunting does remove some animals from the population, but it does not keep deer populations at a continually reduced level. Immediately after a hunt, the remaining animals flourish because less competition for food exists, allowing the remaining animals to live healthier lives, and resulting in a higher reproductive rate. Left alone by humans, the ratio of does to bucks would be approximately equal. In Defense of Animals believes that sport hunting is not only an ineffective wildlife management tool, but a cruel and unnecessary practice. Sport hunting should be banned, allowing deer populations to regulate themselves naturally. http://www.idausa.org/facts/deercontrol.html

Question:"A lot of people say let the deer's natural predators kill them, We are just that."

a)Put a toddler in a room with an apple and a hamster. If the toddler eats the hamster and plays with the apple, then humans are natural predators. (Repeat experiment with young cat for comparison).

b) If we were the natural predators of deer we should be able to run down and catch and devour a deer with only our teeth and hands--just like a lion does. If we didn't use tools--we would be the prey!

Question: "Native peoples hunt and fish and trap, are you going to say it is wrong for them to do it?"

a) yes, but we are not talking about native peoples, we are talking about people who can easily give up the eating of animals --like you.

b) some people in desperate situations kill other people and steal from them to survive, are you saying that's right?

c) anthropological excavations of many sites all around the world have shown that native people actually survived primarily (over 70%) on foraging, not hunting. and in any case, it is no longer necessary for their survival to hunt and fish.

d) If they are human beings then they should live according to the same ethical principles as any other human. No one can justify causing unnecessary harm to others by citing tradition or racial background.

e) Modern tribal peoples (at least in North America) use guns, electronics, industrial textiles and often sell their products to westerners. They would be hypocritical to say that they are living traditionally--when they are using modern technology. If they are willing to give up the tradition of carving spears--than they should be willing to give up the tradition of cruelty.

f) Some native tribes like the Makah also kept human slaves. Others practiced human sacrifice. Should they be allowed to re-adopt thosepractices too? (note: especially useful in countering tribal whale hunt arguments).

MEAT EATING

Question:"Everyone eats meat, so why shouldn't I?"

a) if everyone jumped off a cliff would you?

b) don't give into peer pressure!

c) if everyone thinks like that then we will never make any ethicalprogress on this world!

d) so you believe that you should hold yourself to the lowest commonethical standard possible?

Question: "People from 3rd world countries have to eat meat to survive and what about the people in Antarctica?"

a) People in Third world country do not need to eat meat to survive. The grain and water used to feed livestock could easily be used to feed many times the population according to a vegetarian diet. As for people in colder climates--if they can import guns, clothing, electronics, computers etc, then they can import vegetarian food. After all, people in colder climates, unlike real natives of the colder regions--polar bears, penguins, arctic wolves,need artificial means to survive--without it--they would perish. So relying on vegetable and fruit imports is no big sacrifice if one wants to be compassionate and ethical.

Question:"If everyone stopped eating meat (and/or dairy products), then one would get all scrawny just eating a diet of vegetables."

a) do I LOOK like I am starving?

b) name 4 sources of calcium OTHER than dairy products." (i love this one. most people can't answer.)

c) any idea why the USA has one of the highest percentages of dairy consumption AND osteoporosis?!?

d) Okay great! I have a vegetarian bodybuilder I want to arrange a death match with you. I might as well get rich off your stupidity.

Question: "If everyone stopped eating meat, then what would we do with all the animals? We would be overrun by them."

a) Everyone wouldn't stop eating animals at once. As demand drops off, so will breeding and raising of animals intended for consumption. We are breeding them at this rate, this is not their natural rate of population growth.

Question:"If everyone stopped eating meat, then the species would go extinct without us breeding them for consumption."

a) people are not going to stop eating animals all at once, it will most likely be a gradual reduction. There will also probably be a few people who will still keep them as companion animals.

b) so? if they did go extinct it wouldn't hurt anything. They have been breed over the years to be something other than what their indigenous species originally was and all they are doing right now is causing erosion and pollution to the environment.

c)if the only way to keep your family lineage intact was to put you in extremely poor living conditions, force breed you, eat you, and then steal your children and put them through the same cycle, wouldn't you rather go extinct?

d) They existed in the wild before they were domesticated for human consumption..

Question: "All the food charts, school cafeterias; our whole culture makes it appear that meat and dairy are natural and nutritious foods for you, why would everyone be wrong?"

a) have you ever looked at who sponsors those food charts? (psst!the meat and dairy industries)

b) The foods in the charts depict only the most common foods. TheUSDA likes to emphasize that their food guide pyramid is "well known". But on closer inspection, even mainstream organizationslike the USDA/FDA do not claim that meat and dairy are actually necessary for good health. Alternative food charts for vegetarians andvegans exist. On the other hand, evidence abounds that the current over consumption of meat and dairy is responsible at least in part forcommon health problems, like heart disease, obesity, diabetes.

c) Nutrition is not an easy science. The results of mass experimentation take a long time to become clear. Mass experimentation in the developed countries with over consumption of meat, fat and dairy has led to an epidemic of heart disease, obesity and other diseases. The
official recommendations are beginning to change. But both from a medical perspective and from an ethical perspective the change is too slow.

Question: "Humans are predators, if we were to eat veggies our eyes wouldn't be as such. We would be more like deer or turkeys with our eyes on the sides of our heads to watch for danger."

a) gorillas are vegetarians and they have 97.7% human DNA. Likewise, chimpanzees have 98.4% human DNA and are primarily vegetarian. (Humans and chimpanzees are more closely genetically related than an African elephant is to an Asian elephant).
Chimpanzee and gorilla's eyes are not on the sides of their heads.

b) when we have fangs, prehensile tails, and claws we can continue this conversation.

c) so, I have the means to kill you, but I am not going to.

d) set a toddler down next to an apple and a hamster. if he/she eats the hamster and ignores the apple, then we can talk.

e) my fists have the ability to punch people but that doesn't mean I should go around doing that.

f) so what does that make me?

g) Comparative anatomy of humans:by Milton R. Mills, M.D. In conclusion, we see that human beings have the gastrointestinal tract structure of a 'committed' herbivore. Humankind does not show the mixed structural features one expects and finds in anatomical omnivores such as bears and raccoons. Thus, from comparing the gastrointestinal tract of humans to that of carnivores, herbivores and omnivores we must conclude that humankind's GI tract is designed for a purely plant-food diet. Facial Muscles Carnivore: Reduced to allow wide mouth gape; Herbivore: Well-developed; Omnivore:Reduced; Human: Well-developed Jaw Type Carnivore: Angle not expanded; Herbivore: Expanded angle; Omnivore: Angle not expanded; Human: Expanded angleJaw Joint Location Carnivore: On same plane as molar teeth; Herbivore: Above the plane of the molars; Omnivore: On same plane as molar teeth; Human: Above the plane of the molars; * Jaw Motion Carnivore: Shearing; minimal side-to-side motion; Herbivore: No shear; good side-to-side, front-to-back; Omnivore: Shearing; minimal side-to-side; Human: No shear; good side-to-side, front-to-back Major Jaw Muscles Carnivore: Temporalis;Herbivore: Masseter and pterygoids;Omnivore: Temporalis;Human: Masseter and pterygoids Mouth Opening vs. Head Size Carnivore: Large; Herbivore: Small; Omnivore: Large; Human: Small; Teeth (Incisors) Carnivore: Short and pointed; Herbivore: Broad, flattened and spade shaped; Omnivore: Short and pointed;
Human: Broad, flattened and spade shaped; Teeth (Canines) Carnivore: Long, sharp and curved; Herbivore: Dull and short or long (for defense), or none; Omnivore: Long, sharp and curved; Human: Short and blunted; Teeth (Molars) Carnivore: Sharp, jagged and blade shaped; Herbivore: Flattened with cusps vs. complex surface; Omnivore: Sharp blades and/or flattened; Human: Flattened with nodular cusps; Chewing Carnivore: None; swallows food whole; Herbivore: Extensive chewing necessary; Omnivore: Swallows food whole and/or simple crushing; Human: Extensive chewing necessary; Saliva Carnivore: No digestive enzymes; Herbivore: Carbohydrate digesting enzymes; Omnivore: No digestive enzymes; Human: Carbohydrate digesting enzymes; Stomach Type Carnivore: Simple; Herbivore: Simple or multiple chambers; Omnivore: Simple; Human: Simple; Stomach Acidity Carnivore: Less than or equal to pH 1 with food in stomach; Herbivore: pH 4 to 5 with food in stomach; Omnivore: Less than or equal to pH 1 with food in stomach; Human: pH 4 to 5 with food in stomach; Stomach Capacity Carnivore: 60% to 70% of total volume of digestive tract; Herbivore: Less than 30% of total volume of digestive tract; Omnivore: 60% to 70% of total volume of digestive tract; Human: 21% to 27% of total volume of digestive tract;Length of Small Intestine Carnivore: 3 to 6 times body length; Herbivore: 10 to more than 12 times body length; Omnivore: 4 to 6 times body length; Human: 10 to 11 times body length; Colon Carnivore: Simple, short and smooth; Herbivore: Long, complex; may be sacculated; Omnivore: Simple, short and smooth; Human: Long, sacculated; Liver Carnivore: Can detoxify vitamin A; Herbivore: Cannot detoxify vitamin A; Omnivore: Can detoxify vitamin A; Human: Cannot detoxify vitamin A; Kidney Carnivore: Extremely concentrated urine Herbivore: Moderately concentrated urine; Omnivore: Extremely concentrated urine; Human: Moderately concentrated urine; Nails Carnivore: Sharp claws; Herbivore: Flattened nails or blunt hooves; Omnivore: Sharp claws; Human: Flattened nails; http://www.earthsave.bc.ca/materials/articles/ articles/health/comparative_p7.html

h) Humans are predators because they choose to be not because they have to be.

i) From the Christian perspective God put our eyes just where he wants them and there they will stay.. I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvelous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well. 15 My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. 16 Thine eyes
did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them. (Psalm 139:14-16 14 )

Question:"If everyone stopped eating meat, then the food would be bland."

a) There are good meat substitutes on the market...

b) the food is really anything but bland. most people find that after switching to a veg diet their food options seem to expand because they are forced to try new things and their palate no longer revolves around the same foods in every meal. it's not just raw tasteless vegetables. you can still use herbs and spices and many sauces and pastas and breads....etc. Plus there are many great substitutes for all of your old favorites.

Question:"If everyone stopped eating meat, then you would suffer from calcium, iron, and protein deficiencies."

a) Certain fruits and vegetables are loaded with calcium.. Certain greens contain much iron. Soy products, and legumes provide ample protein plus fiber without the fat and cholesterol.....

b) any nutrients that you find in meat can easily be found in plant foods (and without all the fat and cholesterol). If you eat a variety, there is no need to worry about vitamin or mineral deficiencies. It has actually been found that Americans get 2-3 times the protein amount that is healthy for them, and this extra protein overloads the body with acid. to buffer the acid the body takes calcium out of your bones. Studies have also shown that vegetarians have stronger bones and lower cholesterol than meat eaters.

c) Soldiers in the Roman Army subsisted on a diet made up of very plain foods. Soldiers were required to pay up to one third of their wages for their food. They ate mostly bread, perhaps porridge, cheese or beans with cheap wine to wash it down (Marks, Tingay 16). Marks, Anthony, Tingay, Graham. The Romans. London. Usborne Publishing Ltd., 1990.

d) "Dupont says that a soldier's diet was even more extremely limited. She reports that Legionaries ate only bread and drank only water plus a little vinegar when the weather was hot. It was considered that "bread was the only food "fit for a soldier, hard food for hard
men" (Dupont 125). Dupont, Florence. Daily Life in Ancient Rome. Cambridge, USA. Basil Blackwell Ltd., 1992. Taken from: Social Position and Food in the Roman Empire -or- You Eat What You Are Jean Preston Roman Civilization Dr. Christine Renaud 2 December 1997

e) Roman soldiers carried their grain (high gluten wheat) and flour grindstones with them on the march. At night, after their 20 mile daily march they would have pasta and baked bread. They preferred this even over meat. When they did eat meat they considered it to be "barbarian food." http://www.bible-history.com/rome/RomeEarly_Roman_Society_Facts.htm

Question: "We have been killing and eating meat for centuries, why should we stop now?"

a) If you use tradition as your moral standard it allows that human slavery, the oppression of women, ethnocentricity and religious based discrimination would be tolerated. You would need to show why humans are deserving of an exemption from this ethical standard. Why a racist or a religious bigot could not discriminate on the basis of race or religion while others could discriminate on the basis of species.

b) According to spiritual and secular mythology/belief, at one point in human history we were essentially vegetarian. The world's oldest known monotheistic religion: Zoroasterism, was a vegetarian religion.Theories of biological evolution suggest that human ancestors were plant eaters before adopting an omnivorous diet. Also, our teeth and intestines are consistent with what is known to be a herbivore physiology.

c) There are many religions that do not adhere to such a principle and in fact propose a contrary perspective:.Jainism, Buddhism, etc. Compassion for all life is a matter of doctrine. One can ask'did God create surplus compassion'or was it the Devil? Can one be too compassionate?

Question: "Other animals kill other species for food."

a) They need to eat meat to survive--humans do not.

b) Some species have been known to kill members of their own species-if you are saying it is okay to kill other species because a lion does it, then a child murderer could say we have a right to kill our children because lions do it too.

Question: "Meat tastes good and is good for you."

a) It's not good for you - cholesterol, saturated fat, and no fiber.

Question: "If everyone stopped eating meat, then people would lose lots of jobs."

a) A lot of people would lose jobs if people stopped smoking. All those tobacco farmers and cigarette company workers would be out of jobs. Gosh, I should start smoking to help the economy! "What if world peace were achieved tomorrow? All those poor soldiers and arms manufacturers and surgeons would be out of work. Gosh, we can't have that!"

Question: "What if you just ate a small amount of meat and you got it from an organic farm that you knew treated the animals relevantly well."

a) well, that's better than nothing, but it's not the best option.

b) are you doing that?

c) what if slave traders only kept a few slaves and treated themrelevantly well?

Question: "What if we genetically engineered animals to have no brains and no feelings, or grew meat in jars?then would it be ethical?"

a) well, to get to that point there has to be many animal sacrifices that do have brains and feelings. plus, it would still be bad for your health and the environment (in the production of such a thing). also, there are many fake meats that work just as well and don't involve risky animal experiments.

b) what if you genetically engineered humans to have no brains and no feelings so we could use them in scientific experiments? would that be ethical?

MISCELLANEOUS

Question: "If we don't consider ourselves better than animals we will treat each other terribly."

a) So does that mean that if whites consider themselves superior to blacks then they would naturally treat whites better?

b) Tell that to Stalin and Hitler.

Question: "Wasn't Hitler a vegetarian?"

a) And Al Capone started the first soup kitchens in Chicago. I guess anyone who supports helping the homeless is a gangster?

b) the testimonyof Hitler's personal cook in Hamburg during the late 1930s - Dione Lucas. In her "Gourmet Cooking School Cookbook," she records that his favorite dish - the one that he customarily requested - was stuffed squab (pigeon). "I do not mean to spoil your appetite for stuffed squab, but you might be interested to know that it was a great favorite with Mr. Hitler, who dined in the hotel often." http://www.ivu.org/history/europe20a/hitler.html

c) So was Gandhi--does that make him a war monger andmass murderer?

d) They say Osama Bin Laden liked hunting. So by your logic, every hunter is a terrorist!

e) "Otto D. Tolischus in 1937 in The New York Times pointed out that the F'hrer was a vegetarian who 'does not drink or smoke' but who also 'occasionally relishes a slice of ham' along with delicacies such as caviar and chocolates." (Ibid.) Robert Proctor calls Hitler a vegetarian "of sorts" (The Nazi War on Cancer, p. 134) and is content to state that Hitler was a vegetarian who "occasionally would allow himself a dish of meat," (p. 135) and quotes The New York Times as stating that in addition to ham and caviar Hitler also occasionally ate squab." http://www.micahbooks.com/readingroom/Hitlerveg.html

f) His cook, an enormously fat man named Willy Kannenberg, produced exquisite meals and acted as court jester. Although Hitler had no fondness for meat except in the form of sausages and never ate fish, he enjoyed caviar....(The Life and Death of Adolph Hitler (Praeger, 1973)(p. 346) http://www.micahbooks.com/readingroom/Hitlerveg.html

g) Hitler's reputation for being a vegetarian seems to consist solely of his not having eaten red meat. The effort to describe Hitler's eating habits as vegetarian requires changing the definition of "vegetarian" to exclude liver, ham, and sausages from the list of meats, and changing the definition of "animal" to exclude pigs.Hitler did exhibit a sympathy with a vegetarian diet, but paradoxically, vegetarians and the vegetarian movement in Nazi Germany were persecuted. Vegetarian societies were restrained, subject to raids, and "books that contained vegetarian recipes were confiscated by the Gestapo." Janet Barkas has a good account of this period in German history in her book, The Vegetable Passion. German vegetarian societies were forced to leave the International Vegetarian Union; they were prohibited from organizing and from publishing material, but individuals were not molested and "could exchange their credit notes for meat for dairy products. About 83,000 vegetarians participated in this program." http://www.micahbooks.com/readingroom/Hitlerveg.html

h) Hitler and Animals Like many of his fellow human beings, Adolf Hitler used animal epithets to vilify other people. He often called his opponents "swine" and "dirty dogs." The Bolsheviks were "animals," and the Russians a "bestial people" and Slavic "rabbit-family" whom Stalin had molded into a totalitarian state. After Hitler conquered Russia, he wanted "the ridiculous hundred million Slavs" to live in "pig-pens." He called British diplomats "little worms," and, as for the "half-Judaized, half-Negrified" people of America, they "have the brains of a hen." Hitler had contempt for his own people, referring to them as "the great stupid mutton-herd of our sheep-like people," and when the defeats mounted late in the war, he blamed them for not having risen to the challenge. Hitler called his own sisters "stupid geese." Whatever deficiencies members of the Germanic Volk might possess, however, Hitler believed the Aryan/Nordic race was infinitely superior to the surrounding sea of sub-human "monstrosities between man and ape," as he made clear in a speech in Munich in 1927:

"We see before us the Aryan race which is manifestly the bearer of all culture, the true representative of all humanity....Our entire industrial science is without exception the work of Nordics. All great composers from Beethoven to Richard Wagner are Aryans....Man owes everything that is of any importance to the principle of struggle and to one race which has carried itself forward successfully. Take away the Nordic Germans and nothing remains but the dance of apes." Charles Patterson http://www.powerfulbook.com/excerpts.html

i) Hitler was fond of dogs, especially German shepherds (he considered boxers "degenerate"), whom he liked to control and dominate. At the front during World War I, he befriended a white terrier, Fuchsl (Foxl), who had strayed across enemy lines. Later, when his unit had to move on and Fuchsl could not be found, Hitler became distraught. "I liked him so much," he recalled. "He only obeyed me." Hitler often carried a dog-whip and sometimes used it to beat his dog the same way he had seen his father beat his own dog. In the Fuhrer headquarters during World War II, Hitler's German shepherd, Blondi, offered him the closest thing he had to friendship. "But with his dogs, as with every human being he came into contact with," writes his biographer Ian Kershaw, "any relationship was based upon subordination to his mastery." http://www.powerfulbook.com/excerpts.html

j) The reputed fondness of Hitler and other top Nazis for animals, especially their dogs, has been put into perspective by Max Horkheimer and Theodor Adorno. For certain authoritarian personalities, they write, their "love of animals" is part of the way they intimidate others. When industrial magnates and Fascist leaders want to have pets around them, Horkheimer and Adorno maintain, their choice falls on intimidating animals such as Great Danes and lion cubs, which are intended to add to their power through the terror they inspire. "The murderous Fascist colossus stands so blindly before nature that he sees animals only as a means of humiliating men," they write. "The Fascist's passionate interest in animals, nature, and children is rooted in the lust to persecute." While with their hand they might negligently stroke a child's head, or an animal's back, that same hand could just as easily destroy them. "The petting demonstrates that all are equal in the presence of power, that none is a being in its own right. A creature is merely material for the master's bloody purposes." http://www.powerfulbook.com/excerpts.html

Question: "Do you eat meat?/What are your shoes made of?"

a) The issue of meat eating and/or animal by-products is a valid and important issue in animal rights, but it does not have anything to do with the moral and ethical problems of animal research. The factthat an animal activist making a pro-animal rights/compassion argument may be inconsistent in those ways does not in any way detract or invalidate the argument on animal research. It is a separate issue.

b) If South Africa was being criticized by the United States for their treatment of blacks, and the South African government responded by pointing out the United States' poor treatment of tribal communities within their own country, would this mean that the treatment of blacks by South Africa was morally defensible? Of course not. It would just mean that there are other issues that need to be addressed APART FROM the treatment of blacks by South Africa.

Question: Well you are entitled to your opinion but I am entitled to mine and I say---FILL IN BLANK

a) Everyone is entitled to an opinion (although some are more ableto express one publicly than others) but if the opinion involves causing harm to others--there is usually a generally accepted restriction on ACTING upon such opinions. I.e. "I think Christians like me are superior to non-Christians, therefore we should be able to enslave non believers."If it is wrong for white supremacists, Christian supremacists, anti-gays, male chauvinists, etc to act upon their opinion, thus it should be the same for ALL forms of unfair discrimination--including willful discrimination against animals.

Question:"Why are you Vegan?"

a) Everyone is! Just some people add animal products to their diet.

b) Everything is! Just some foods have animal products added

c) I was training my dog not to beg and got used to the diet

d) Because god told me.

e) Because I ate part of my best friend once and that kind of put me off.

f) Why AREN'T you????

PLANTS AND VEGETABLES

Question: "Do you eat plants? Fruit? You are killing anyway./Plants feel pain."

a) This attack implies that the animal activist should not even try to stop exploitation and killing, since it cannot be avoided in all situations. It fails to consider that if killing cannot be avoided, and one should not try to stop it, the spectator is under no obligation to limit their lack of concern to non human living beings. One can say: "well since I can't stop killing why should I care about ANY killing? I might as well look the other way if my neighbor gets killed." Why should a line be drawn at the human level and not a racial, gender, age, religion or some other line of value? People do it anyway.

b) This is an argument fallacy. It is an example of argumentum ad homonym. A changing the subject tactic. Instead of attacking the argument, the opponent attacks the person making the argument. People who use this approach often get hypocrisy confused with consistency.

c) Plants don't have a central nervous system, so no, they don't feel pain. And a plant doesn't bleed, scream, and struggle to get away when you pick it.

d) if your lawn starts bleeding and screaming when you mow it, give me a call.

e) take a class in biology. when you learn about the central nervous system, we can continue this conversation.

f) The best thing I found for the plants feel pain thing is that meat eaters kill way more plants than us anyway to feed to all the animals they are gonna kill. So if plants do feel pain then vegans are still the kindest lot!!

RELIGION

Question:"God meant us to eat meat."

a) Not according to the Seven Days Adventists who are vegetarian.

b) In Genesis it clearly states that the first best food for humans is vegetables and fruits.

c) Some people would say God also meant whites to rules blacks, that its okay to beat children and hang homosexuals. You can use God to justify any argument.

d) If God meant us to eat meat why do animals run away from us when we want to eat em?

e) Oh that's what the devil wants you to think. Bwhahaahahahaha.

Question:"My god tells me that animals are here for our use. The Bible and all religions say so."

a) The Bible also contains incest, stoning adulteresses to death, raping a young girl to death, and the slaughter of children. Are you saying that all of this other Biblical violence is also endorsed? The Bible has also been used to support slavery, neo-Nazism, and the Inquisition, aka the witches' Holocaust. Do you really want to include yourself in that illustrious company?

b) In Genesis (I think it's Genesis), God specifically says that S/He has given us plants, and to us they shall be as meat. Sounds pretty clear-cut to me.

c) The word meat in the bible is often confused with animal flesh. It's a translation error from the greek word for nutrition. So when Jesus goes to market for "meat" it should read nutrition.

d) the bible also contains favorable arguments for slavery and incest. whew! that's great because i was planning on marrying my brother and then selling him to a sweat shop.

e) I guess you never heard of Buddhism or Jainism.

SPECIES UNITY

Question: "Instead of worrying about animals--worry about homeless people or war orphans."

a) Must one be so narrow minded that he can worry about one at the exclusion of the other?

Question: "If you saw a burning barn/sealed car/boat filled with humans and (insert non human animal), who would you save?"

a) The intention here is to force the animal activist to admit that there is a situation where he/she would choose the life of a human over a non human, thus validating the animal research position. The trouble here is that even if the activist chooses to save the life of a human over a non human, it does not then mean that the activist is endorsing factory farming or the vivisection industry or making any policy decision.

b) Rephrasing the scenario, what if the burning barn is filled with humans...half are white and half are black. If you are white'who do you save?" The animal research proponent does not intend that the burning barn scenario be considered in this way--but it must be for consistency. The original scenario attempts to prompt the activist into deciding between "us (humans) or them (non humans)." If the research proponent objects to the notion that one may choose between "us or them" based on ethnic or gender, or some other criteria, then he/she must first show how discrimination based on species is justified, before such an argument could even begin to be considered valid for the animal research issue. NOTE: An animal research proponent might counter that it is in the best practicalinterest of human beings to have respect and care for each other (Golden rule) but this would not be a necessity or a moral obligation. If someone could benefit from exploiting other humans (as we find in the real world all the time) then this argument would be invalidated.Why shouldn't someone exploit others if they can benefit from it? This is what the animal research proponent must address .

Question: "Ethics are irrelevant.Speciesism is not the same as racism. We have a biological drive like all species to stick together and protect our own/Question: "Humans have a natural biological drive to preserve their species over others. Humans are naturally meant to stick together."(note: also known as the Tenacious moral instinct argument).

a) Humans have enslaved and discriminated against each other based on race, religion, gender, age,intelligence,and appearance for 1000s of years. The ideal of universal human rights is itself a new concept.Despite our laws we still have discrimination and exploitation of humans for a myriad of reasons. One doesn't lock their doors at night to keep out pit bulls.

b) Attempting to assert that other species are also speciesists is flawed, since lions and grizzlies have been known to kill the offspring of a rival male,chimpanzee groupswill war against other chimpanzee groups, etc.

c) Citing some unsubstantiated "law" of the Natural world cannot defend the argument that humans are meant to "stick together".

d) The very fact that the concept of animal rights is accepted by some shows that there is no overriding biological drive in humans to "stick together"or avoid compassion for members of other species.

SURVIVAL OF THE FITTEST

Question: "Nature is cruel--cats will play with their food--so we should be cruel too. It's survival of the fittest. Compassion is not natural, and other species are motivated by self interest."

a) "survival of the fittest" would allow one to exploit and enslave other humans . You acknowledge that one animal will prey on another, but you ignore that they can also prey on members of their own species--in which case, by using this moral standard and policy, humans preying on other humans would be justified too.

b) a domestic cat is fed, and has no predators. A wild cat has to be on guard for competitors. Not catching prey means not eating. The time for playing with their food would be greatly diminished. More importantly, there is no evidence that a cat is aware of the mouse's suffering and takes pleasure from that fact-like humans have been known to do. There are hunters who enjoy killing animals.

c) Speciesists who use this attack contradict themselves'for while they say that species have a natural tendency to stick together,they will also allege that it's a "dog eat dog" world, compassion is not natural, and other species are motivated by self interest! In fact, other species have been known to exhibit altruism. Bats will lend food to other bats, ducks have been known to feign injury to lure a predator away from the flock. There are instances of domestic animals "adopting" the offspring of other species, and dogs rescuing humans.And conversely, there are instances where humans have risked their own lives to help a member of another species.

d) The very fact that the concept of animal rights is accepted by some shows that there is no overriding biological drive in humans to "stick together"or avoid compassion for members of other species.

e) The species unity myth is also used to make a jump from desperate emotional choice to ethical policy. If a human chooses to save a life of a human over a non human in some life and death situation (a river, a barn fire, a locked car/boat with no food etc), the argument is made that it is therefore logical to exploit non humans in factory farms, in laboratories etc.But if one were to apply this to a human vs. human scenario--(white vs. black, Christian vs. non Christian, family member vs. stranger) and you choose that which you regard as mostfamiliar or valuable--then the same consequences are applicable. Will you then exploit the loser en masse? Of course not. So why would you do it to non humans?

WILDLIFE MANAGEMENT

Question: "If I wasn't hunting prairie dogs and groundhogs they would ruin my crops and my cattle would step in their holes and break their legs."

a) That is nonsense. Larry Rittenhouse of Colorado State University says 'it would be almost impossible for a cow to break its leg in a prairie dog hole.' He says 'I study these animals behavior and they are extremely adept at placing their feet. In my 50 years around cattle and horses, I don't know of a single incident where a horse or cow has been injured in a prairie dog hole.' Cattle seem to actually preferentially graze on prairie dog towns. It has been found that there's a significant increase in protein content in the plants growing on prairie dog towns and they are highly nutritious for the cattle.

b) many ranchers say that the only way to make farming profitable is to work with the elements of the ecosystem, instead of against them. It's just not economically feasible to spend precious labor and money killing wildlife. If you start killing one animal, where does it end? We don't know what species you can eliminate and still keep the system healthy. Contrary to folklore, prairie dogs do not breed like crazy. They don't mate until their second year and only about half of those born each year survive. As you know, prairie dogs are herbivores and eat mostly native grasses. Most ranchers have heard the 'fact' that prairie dogs diminish grassland productivity by a whopping 50-75%, but no one is sure how the biologist who made this claim came up with the numbers. Since then, studies have been done that show if you get rid of prairie dogs, the amount of forage that you gain is a puny 4-7%. It does impact the rancher in dollars and cents, but the cost of poisoning prairie dogs outweigh the gains made by eliminating the animals. If you still insist on trying to 'control' the prairie dog and groundhog populations, you could at least do it in more ethically sound and natural ways such as giving predators a boost by building poles for raptors and digging trenches where foxes can hide.

c) Biologists call prairie dogs a keystone species. Lose the keystone and the whole ecosystem goes crumbling down with it. Species that rely solely on prairie dogs include the endangered black-footed ferret, the mountain plover (a bird), the burrowing owl, and the ferruginous hawk which preys on them. If you change the natural disturbance regime that the 'varmints' provide, you alter the ecosystem and you may start losing species (of animals and plants) because of it which in turn effects other things (like your crops). As for groundhogs, they actually improve the soil quality by digging their burrows. The burrows allow more air and water to get underground, which in turn helps breakdown the soil to form more valuable topsoil.

d) I have little sympathy for the livestock loss or damage because it wouldn't happen if no one was eating the livestock. As for crops that go for human consumption (which the majority don't), if everyone consumed on a vegetarian diet, even a significant (which isn't the case) loss of crops would be acceptable economically because you are talking about so much less of a burden on our farm system. Any shortcomings could be made up by more farmers raising more produce for human consumption. And in any case, If everyone has to deal with a problem, then the costs are passed on to the consumer. In the end, the market bears the real cost of doing business, and if everyone operated on the same ethical level and accepted crop losses via 'varmints' as a natural issue to deal with, we could live in much better cooperation with our surrounding ecosystems and the natural world.

Question: "If I wasn't killing the bear and wolves and cougars they would kill my sheep and I would lose business or they would eat my children."

a) You should not have sheep in the first place. If you must, keep them in a fenced area..

b) so instead of killing them, if you are so worried, why don't you work on helping protect their natural habitat so that they won't need to invade your property and kill your livestock. and after all, you are really the one invading their territory.

c) by killing the bear, wolves, and cougars you are tampering with a very fragile thing --the ecosystem-- which could very likely result in some other problem like an overpopulation of rodents or something.

d)-only in a few isolated incidences in other countries have wolves become fearless and attacked; only become fearless as result of people feeding them-India: parents were motivated to let wolves eat kids by extremely high compensation from government' up to a year's salary.

e) -Chain reaction: in one instance, when the wolves had been killed, coyotes increased. When they were gone, foxes skyrocketed. Not only does the method of removal prove ineffective, but according to the farmer, wolves should be better as they are much less likely to feed off of the farmer's livestock. -Farmers are compensated by government for all losses (even though losses are extremely minimal)-WOLVES ARE ONLY RESPONSIBLE FOR .1% OF ALL LOSSES OF CATTLE, AND .3% OF SHEEP!

Question: "What about animals that are introduced by humans into an unnatural setting, like the broad-tail possum in new Zealand, which are overrunning the native species. Surely we have no choice but to kill them."

a) the possum are victims of human greed and stupidity (introduced into new Zealandby fur farmers)--humans just have to live with the consequences--and try not to cause more ecological disasters in the future.

b) who appointed humans to be Nature's exterminators?

c) so by your logic, if a group of humans are overpopulating an area--and driving out native species, it should be okay for some people to go in and massacre a large number--or rather, thin the populations, for the benefit of the native species.

d) well if you are so concerned about native species being wiped out by alien species, what are you doing to stop farmers from cutting down forests or companies polluting rivers? Are you prepared to use violence against them? Or do we make an exception for the number one polluter and natural destroyer on the planet?

ZOOS

Question:"Why shouldn't we go the circus/zoo? Are not the animals treated better there than if they were living in the wild?"

a) well, first of all, who are we to be the all mighty ones to decide what to do with these animals lives? that would be like: aren't children from 3rd world countries treated better when doing child labor, making purses for mere pennies, than when they are home with their families living in destruction? or weren't black slaves better off as slaves than free because they had a means of making a living? .....and really, although there are hunters and destruction of their natural habitats, I would think freedom and all the enrichment that the environment can provide would be a better life than being chained and forced to perform in stressful situations, constantly moved from place to place, and often being abused.

b) By this logic we should take natives out of the dwindling jungles of South America and Borneo and put them in zoos so their lifestyle can be preserved. Surely they would be better off than if they had to struggle in the forests.

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